One Track Mind: Jeff Crosby, "Too Many Walls" (2011)

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photo: jeffcrosbymusic.com

From a small town up in Idaho a fourteen year old kid picks up a guitar and ten years later he’s already done so much with that instrument and his voice, but eager to do more. As the frontman for the rock/funk/jam/bluegrass band Equaleyes, Jeff Crosby seems to have a lot going for him: an ace guitarpicking technique, a flawlessly soulful voice and young Gregg Allman looks. In that band, he gets to showcase all the different kinds of music he’s into, and from what I can tell, he’s got a good handle on them all. But there’s a singer-songwriter in every serious musician, and Crosby’s recently launched solo career is his means of getting that side fully presented to the public. His first step forward in that direction was to form his own band, Jeff Crosby and the Refugees (which includes members of Equaleyes). The second step was to tour with this band, and that got going last year. Step three is a five song E.P., called Too Many Walls, released last January.

This third step is a very solid one, too. These five, soft tempo songs with spare, clean production dwell on pity free self-reflection and a child-like curiosity of how the world got to be so messed up…with very adult, thoughtful assessments to go with it. That’s the theme of the title tune “Too Many Walls” where Crosby asks “why is a man who follows orders is called a solider/seems the concept of the word should change.” The music sways with a easy-going jazzy soul groove that his pipes are ideally suited for, and his acoustic and shimmering electric guitars along with a Wurlitzer keep the appealing melody warm, smooth and just enough out of the way so his lyrics get heard.

Jeff Crosby can choose a variety of ways to get his musical message across if he wants to. But he doesn’t have to shout it, or make it look hard to do that. The simple, low key glow of “Too Many Walls” betrays the quiet craftsmanship he puts into his songs. And it bodes well for his full-length debut album, slated to be released this month.

“Too Many Walls” and other songs from Crosby’s EP can be streamed from his website. Oh, and check out Equaleyes’ website, too.

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S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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